b. 28 MAY 1861 Muskingum County, Ohio
d. 16 NOV 1943 in Toledo, Ohio
Karl Kappes was born May 28, 1861. His father, John J. Kappes, was proprietor of a hotel at Fourth and Main streets in downtown Zanesville during the Civil War. After schooling in Cincinnati, Paris, New York and Munich, Karl Kappes painted, taught fine arts in Zanesville, and was head of the art department at Weller Pottery.
Between 1892 and 1912, Kappes ran an art school in downtown Zanesville, where he trained many of the painters who decorated pottery at Weller, Roseville, and many other local pottery works. The artist established a national reputation for his oil paintings, exhibiting in Ohio, Philadelphia and New York.
Kappes moved to Toledo, Ohio in 1912, returning to Zanesville as needed for commissions and classes. Between the two cities, Kappes taught hundreds of Ohio painters, leaving a chief art legacy to the state. He died in Toledo in 1943.
Karl Kappes (1861‐1943)
Born in Zanesville, Ohio, Karl Kappes enrolled in 1879 at the Art School in Cincinnati, but soon headed to New York where
he studied with the American impressionist William Merritt Chase before heading to Europe. He studied at the Academie
Julian in Paris in 1880 and then studied for several years at the Bavarian Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. His studies
in Germany honed his skills as an artist. “Have made up my mind that I will be able to draw before I go in the painting
class,” he wrote to his parents on January 13, 1884. “The great draw back with the students in the Painting school is that
they are unable to draw correctly and thereby making it very difficult to make any progress at colouring.” Mr. Kappes
settled in Toledo in 1912 where he would spend the rest of his life painting and teaching. He expressed his philosophy as
an artist to a reporter in 1925: “An artist should be general in his work. He should not confine himself merely to one mode.
To confine oneself in that way is to narrow oneself as an artist. Art is like life: it takes in everything.” Mr. Kappes lived in
his studio on Monroe Street in downtown Toledo, but for years maintained a summer studio along the Maumee River in
Texas, Ohio, until his death in 1943. Primarily a painter of portraits, his landscapes are alive with color with a style of
composition honed by decades of study. One of his pupils was Earl W. North.
(Note by L. Lynch)
Karl Kappes lived in Putnam, Ohio (Springfield Township) which was later annexed into the city of Zanesville. It is most likely that he was born there.